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Forum topic by jonnybrophy posted 04-09-2017 12:56 AM 1750 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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160 posts in 1170 days

04-09-2017 12:56 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question rustic beginner no money

Hey guys,
I have been trying my hand at woodworking for about 1 and a half now, and have been enjoying it
however, ive always felt like i couldn’t do the work i wanted to the accuracy i want without a planer and jointer, and a good table saw.
Are there work arounds for this?
I have a 9” smoothing plane i got at a garage sale, and a 2’000 grit dmt credit card sharpener(sharpest i can get)
Im a full time college student, have no car(saving for one), make $200 a month and have little time to woodwork, and when i do woodwork, its always trying to get around cupped and bowed boards.
P.s. i use all reclaimed lumber because i cant afford pre dimensioned wood:)
I know i gotta pay my dues, and woodworking isnt particularly easy, but is there a better way? There HAS to be a better way…

How to deal with cupped and bowed boards with very little tools, and even less skill, and even LESS money than that?

P.P.S. Do any of you guys know of a project that doesn’t require the boards to be square? Maybe something i could sell and help fund my further endeavors?

-- "If she dont find ya handsome, she better find ya handy"

34 replies so far

View Bobmedic's profile


383 posts in 3360 days

#1 posted 04-09-2017 01:10 AM

There are plenty projects that you could do with pocket screws. You could assemble them with battens that might help take the cup out of boards, at least where they are joined. There’s lots of rustic style projects that seem to be the trend right now. Build what you can and sell them at craft fairs and flea markets.

View Karda's profile


1816 posts in 1112 days

#2 posted 04-09-2017 01:28 AM

keep on keeping, do what you can with what you got, look for old discarded furniture you can dismantle for the wood, or if you have an extra buck or 2 look at rummage sales, check places that throw away wood skoids and packing crates. choose your projects to fit tools and lumber that you can make work well. looks also for inexpensive used tools at rumage sales good luck

View jonnybrophy's profile


160 posts in 1170 days

#3 posted 04-09-2017 01:34 AM

thanks guys!
I love woodworking and i love old tools, i just need to find a way to make some money with it, cuz right now its just a money pit.
I will look into rustic furniture, and the like
Ive been trying to come up with a little doodad i can make and sell for cheap, and just make a bunch of them but i cant think of anything “just right”
P.s. i do have a lathe, in case you guys know of some low cost projects(i tried pens, but they are SO expensive)

-- "If she dont find ya handsome, she better find ya handy"

View JCamp's profile


1014 posts in 1109 days

#4 posted 04-09-2017 01:40 AM

If I was in ur shoes I think I’d start building myself a nice tool box (if u don’t have one already) or bench
If u are set on selling stuff talk to some of ur college buddies An see what they hav been buying for dorms that you could make An sell for other college kids

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Karda's profile


1816 posts in 1112 days

#5 posted 04-09-2017 01:42 AM

honey dippers, they are small and can be turned from scraps, just make sure the wood is hardwood and food safe. don’t limit your self to wood work. What else can you sell. clean yards clean out cellars and garages, barter labor for tools or something you can sell, use your imagination just keep it legal. The journey can be fun and rewarding as the woodworking

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3942 days

#6 posted 04-09-2017 02:13 AM

My lathe is one of the few tools I have which has paid for itself many times over. You can advertise on Craigslist for anyone needing spindles replaced on their stairway if you are any good at making custom spindles to match. I have made some at generally around 25 dollars each. Not a lot, but two here, and three there….. I enjoy doing it anyway and having a chance to make money at it is a bonus. I do work full time in a cabinet shop for someone else making custom kitchens, bedrooms and pretty much anything else, but was doing it as a hobby first so I have a lot of tools at home. A router and some carving tools will make just about any sign you want and you can start with reclaimed wood for the rustic look.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 3423 days

#7 posted 04-09-2017 02:38 AM

Apartment dumpsters are usually full of furniture that apartment dwellers get rid of instead of moving.

One thing that you can probably sell pretty good on ebay is phone stands, just a little wooden stand to put a phone or tablet on.

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1323 days

#8 posted 04-09-2017 02:43 AM

With your lathe maybe turn some tops … kids and some adults love playing with spinning tops. Some scrap wood and string. I’ve seen some crazy looking effects with spinning tops. Finger tops (no string) small tops, big tops. Pin wheels. Painted lawn or garden animated characters … I love the washer women one :). Just some cheap wood and some paint.
Once you can scrap some money together get a book on hand tool use. Add to your smoother plane:
Tape measure
chalk line (for panel layouts)
try square
2 straight edges, winding sticks (18” or more)
utility knife
Japanese pull saw (combo blade crosscut and rip)
Key hole saw (for curves)
screw drivers (flat and philips)
hand drill and drill bits
chisels (1/4”, 1/2”, 3/4”)
As mentioned before, a good book on hand tool use or visit U-tube … I still like to hold onto a book.
Good luck to you

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3926 days

#9 posted 04-09-2017 03:02 AM

Quick, cheap, rustic bird houses always sell good. Hang around any woodworking store in your area, and you will probably meet someone who could help with jointing and planning some wood for you and maybe even let you work and learn with them in their shop. Not sure where you are but I would be happy to help someone out that way here in Louisville.

View runswithscissors's profile


3081 posts in 2583 days

#10 posted 04-09-2017 03:43 AM

Check around to see whether there any woodworking clubs in your area. You could pick up a lot of ideas, and network with people who might be able to help you out with planing and jointing.

Does your college have a tech department with power tools? Or are you near a community college?

But yeah, birdhouses are a great idea. They need to be cute, quaint, unique. Rustic is good.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1206 days

#11 posted 04-09-2017 12:50 PM

There is a great deal one can do without a table saw, planer, jointer, or any power equipment for that matter! Just visit my projects page!

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3072 days

#12 posted 04-09-2017 01:04 PM

As far as the pen thing, it is an overloaded business, and most people will tell you to have a place to sell them BEFORE you start making them. I sell them in the gallery where I exhibit, but they don’t fly out of there.
And no, Etsy is not the place, since it is loaded with pen makers, including a lot of Asian people selling them for less than $15.

Think in terms of reclaiming. One of the things I started doing was making clocks out of reclaimed acoustic guitars. I find next to destroyed acoustic guitars at local music stores and garage sales, and as long as the front of the unit, and a bit of the neck is still OK, I cut off the front with a cheap angle grinder from Harbor Freight, and mate that to a maple plank. The finished project costs about $28, and I sell them for anywhere from $75 to 95 on Etsy. They go about as fast as I can find old guitars and make them.
Here’s a picture:

One other thing I made a lot of in the last few years was small wine holders. They are tabletop models that have a very small footprint. See them in my projects. I think I am over 75 sales on those, but they have slowed in my area finally. (I think I saturated the area)

And finally, small vessels, bowls, and other things you can make on the lathe out of any tree pieces you might find and lug home. Doesn’t have to be big, just interesting wood. People like different…think out of the box, look at projects on here and images on Google of different wood projects.
And don’t be prisoner to the straight line, think in curves. Most of my projects are not straight line projects, and I think I have about 40 on this site – look them over and copy as you wish.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2763 posts in 3480 days

#13 posted 04-09-2017 01:11 PM

About the cheapest wood working activity I can think of is wood carving. Sculpting in wood, relief carving, and chip carving come to mind. I started my wood working by doing relief carving using mallet and gouges.

-- No PHD just a DD214

View jonnybrophy's profile


160 posts in 1170 days

#14 posted 04-09-2017 01:27 PM

Oh my gosh! Thanks guys! I’m overwhelmed by your support :)
I really like that clock guitar(started woodworking because I wanted to be a luthier)
I tried bird houses but with fence boards from Home Depot and they were all green and warped like a time traveler :)
I live in Oviedo Florida, so no clubs real close and no woodworking classes at any of the schools
Been learning mostly from YouTube and failure
Ps. I have a mini lathe rocker Excalibur( ’’twas a birthday present a year ago)

-- "If she dont find ya handsome, she better find ya handy"

View bonesbr549's profile


1584 posts in 3625 days

#15 posted 04-09-2017 01:34 PM

While I’m a longway down the road I started without very much. I would say learning to get your material flat and square is the cornerstone for removing frustration in your woodowrking.

Now you do not need a bunch of power tools to do this. My son who’s in the army and working in an apartment. Has just started geting it going. He prefers hand tools only and does boxes shelves and is working to master joinery and will one day move up.

He goes to flee markets and swaps to find cheap old tools and finds gems.

If I could list the tools you can build your inventory on first:

Good square: A set of precisions squares from woodcraft is a good buy. Mine i’ve had for years only cost about 30$

A japanese pull say good start and not expensive. You can use that to rip a board plane square

An old #7 hand plane for flattening stock (flee market)

A scrub plane (nice for starting a rough board to get it down to use the 7. I did not start with this bought it later

A marking guage (buy or make one search youtube)

A tape measure (don’t matter but use the same one for all measurements then quality don’t matter) every time i buy something from harbor freight i get one free it seems

A decent combination square. I’d like a starrett, but have a generic one thats 30 years old and works fine

A good machinists strait edge. I did spend about 60 bucks on one and use it for everything

Make a couple winding sticks (google) I use mdf with sharpie on one edge works fine.

And start makeing something. I still have the first real piece I made back in 85 its a butt ugly step stool that I still use. My tools have improved greatly but skills will just take time. Accept your lack of knowledge to start it will come as you “DO” we all learn from our mistakes and yes a few of mine went to heat me. It’s all good.

Remember you never make a mistake you just make design modifications.

If you start with hand tools when you do get that TS/BS/jointer/planer, it will make you appreciate them all the more.

Good luck on your woodworking journey. Cheers.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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